Associate Professor Antigone Kouris APD, PhD, Post Grad Dip Diet, Post Grad Dip Bot Med, BSc Biochem/Micro (Hons)
Senior Academic, Discipline Dietetics and Human Nutrition La Trobe University
Director (Clinical Dietitian), Total Nutrition care
Director, Skinnybik Pty Ltd
Author “Medications: Good and Bad Interactions with foods, herbs and nutrients
Author “Food Sources of Nutrients”
Author “You are what you cook – Mediterranean & South Asian”
Is fruit bad for diabetes and weight loss?
Fruit has received a bad rap lately thanks to keto and low carb diets. However humans evolved eating lots of fruit so we are adapted to eat fruit to stay healthy.
Many of my patients with diabetes are afraid to eat fruit due to the sugar content, and in many cases avoid them completely. Also, many of my weight loss patients avoid fruit for the same reason thinking that the sugar content will stop them from losing weight. So is this fear justified? The simple answer is “No” because health risks come from eating “free” sugars in nutrient poor processed foods and not from fruits which are high in fibre, nutrients and phytonutrient polyphenols which help to keep our gut microbiome healthy which in turn can have a beneficial effect on our blood sugars and appetite.
A new study from China published late 2017 by Du and colleagues looked at the association between fresh fruit consumption, the chances of developing diabetes and diabetes related risk of death and major vascular complications. Half a million Chinese aged 30-79yrs with and without diabetes were followed up for 7 years. The study concluded that “Higher fresh fruit consumption was associated with significantly lower risk of developing diabetes and, among diabetic individuals, lower risks of death and development of major vascular complications”. Also, higher fresh fruit intake was not associated with increased blood glucose levels in the participants with diabetes.
A study conducted by researchers from Harvard University in the USA found that eating more fruit and vegetables can prevent long-term weight gain. This study was also large involving 133,468 adults from 1986 to 2010. Surprisingly the benefits of increased consumption were greater for fruits than for vegetables and strongest for berries and prunes followed by apples, pears, strawberries and grapes, and then by bananas, oranges, melons, grape fruit, avocado and stone fruit.
Conclusion: There is no need to avoid fruit if you are watching your blood glucose or if you are trying to lose weight. Scientific studies support this conclusion. Fruit is not just sugar. Aim for 2 fruits a day and include a variety of different fruits. If you are trying to lose weight prefer berries, apples and pears.
For an appointment with A/Prof Kouris, Clinical dietitian, please call 03 94837013
(Total Nutrition Care, 488 Neerim Rd, Murrumbeena, Vic 3193. Bulk billing available for Care Plans)
Beroia et al., 2015 http://journals.plos.org/plosmedicine/article?id=10.1371/journal.pmed.1001878
I have published a cook book “You are what you cook” (www.lulu.com) which helps you implement the key features of the Mediteranean Diet and it goes without saying it includes many legume based recipes. I have also developed a healthy range of reduced sugar high fibre gluten free cookies made with lupin flour (a legume!) (www.skinnybik.com).
Until next time…Antigone
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For Antigone’s previous blogs click HERE
“You Are What You Cook, by Dr Antigone Kouris, is a Wellness Cookbook containing 80 easy to prepare healthy recipes for the family using Mediterranean and South Asian flavours. Many of the recipes have been adapted from traditional Greek recipes and made healthier by reducing the calories, fat, carbs and many are naturally gluten free. Therefore most recipes are suitable for weight control and for people with diabetes, high cholesterol and coeliac disease. Recipes have been developed by Dr Kouris using knowledge gained from her Greek mother and mother-in-law, her research on the Mediterranean diet and the latest nutrition research, especially on preferred cooking methods (more stews less grills) and use of herbs and spices (especially oregano and turmeric for their anti-inflammatory properties). The book includes a simple guide for a preferred weekly menu and a ‘plate’ guide for food portions. Click here to purchase a copy.